Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday alleged that the Congress government of Uttarakhand rejected his proposal to redevelop Kedarnath shrine which suffered severe damage in the massive flash floods of 2013.
The prime minister, who visited Kedarnath shrine today, recalled how he, as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, had rushed to the shrine and offered help in the aftermath of the devastating floods.
"I came here to do all that I could for the victims... I had met the then Chief Minister (Vijay Bahuguna) and the state government officials and offered that Gujarat would redevelop Kedarnath. During the meeting they agreed. And I announced it outside in the media. But when the news was flashed on television, and it reached Delhi, the people there (UPA government) panicked and within hours the state government was pressurised to announce that it will redevelop Kedarnath itself," Modi said while addressing a public meeting after offering ‘rudrabhiskek’ at the high altitude shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.
However, the Congress has strongly objected to the remarks made by the prime minister. Accusing PM Modi of being "arrogant", the Congress alleged that by making such remarks, he has shown disrespect to the people of the state.
"By visiting Kedarnath today (Friday), Modiji has not only disrespected people of Uttarakhand but also showed his arrogance. After the 2013 disaster, is it only Modiji who is capable of redeveloping Uttarakhand? Was the work done by the then state government, people and the devotees of Lord Shiva to redevelop Kedarnath a waste? Out of 130 crore people, is none capable of redeveloping Kedarnath other than Modiji?" Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
In June 2013, then Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who has now crossed over to the BJP, and the Congress party had rebuffed Modi's offer for redevelopment of Kedarnath and his Rs 3 crore cheque, which was in addition to a Rs 2 crore his state had donated for rain disaster relief.
Recalling the events of 2013, the prime minister said that he had offered to take the responsibility of reconstructing areas surrounding the temple when the tragedy had struck in 2013, killing thousands of people. He added that People from different states had perished and he could not stop himself from rushing to the state after the disaster.
“I expressed my wish to carry out reconstruction work at Kedarnath to the then chief minister of the state who agreed in principle. In my excitement I shared the development with the media and within an hour TV channels flashed it, causing a storm in New Delhi. They (UPA government) viewed the development with a kind of alarm as they thought the Gujarat chief minister will now reach Kedarnath and mounted pressure on the then state government not to agree to my request. I went back disappointed. But perhaps Baba (Lord Shiva) had decided that the responsibility of doing reconstruction work at Kedarnath should be assigned to no one else but to Baba’s son,” PM Modi said.
The Prime minister also laid the foundation stones of five reconstruction projects at Kedarnath. These include improved facilities for devotees, construction of retaining walls and ghats at the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, an approach road to the shrine and reconstructing Adi Guru Shankaracharya’s tomb which was devastated in 2013.
Describing these projects as ambitious and expensive, PM Modi asserted that said there would be no dearth of funds to ensure that they are completed in a time-bound manner.
PM Modi further said that serving people was true service of the lord and added that his visit to the Himalayan temple had strengthened his resolve to serve the nation.
Urging the corporate sector to extend greater support for the development of the country, the prime minister said that his government aims to fully develop India by 2022.